Hi Team Carlsbad!
I want to start this week with a reminder for those of you eligible for benefits. The deadline to make your selections for next year’s health plans is this Thursday at 5 p.m. The open enrollment webpage has all the key information you need. You can select your benefits on Lawson.
Please do not wait until the last minute and reach out to HR if you have questions.
Elections in the year ahead
The 2024 election is still more than a year away, but we’re already starting to see potential candidates make public announcements that they intend to run. In Carlsbad, we’ll have an election for Districts 2 and 4.
While nothing is official until candidates file with the City Clerk, I want to share the same message I share every election season:
Our job as city staff is to carry out the policy direction of the City Council.
If you are approached by an individual City Council member or candidate for information or a request of any kind, redirect them to me.
You are free to engage in political activities on your own time and with your own resources, but it is absolutely essential that you not use any city resources for campaign activity. This includes your time while you’re on the job, use of any of our communication channels, like email or using your city cell phone, photocopies and printing.
Most of all, I want to remind you that during a campaign, candidates may criticize city operations or certain city projects, and it can feel personal. It is not.
The very best thing to do is to continue to focus on your jobs, provide your best professional recommendations and carry out your role just as you would at any other time.
On the city’s financial health
Last week, the Finance Department updated the City Council on last fiscal year’s budget and options for allocating surplus funds.
Based on existing policies, the council decided to use the extra money to fund future pension payments, self-insurance funds, public safety equipment, school crossing guards, trails maintenance, art programs and other one-time costs not included in this year’s city budget.
You might ask how we could have surplus funds since we have also been asking you to find new ways to save ongoing expenses.
The difference comes down to money that can be spent for one-time uses and money that is needed year in and year out, forever into the future.
In any given year, we don’t usually spend the entire city budget for a few reasons:
We might have savings from staff vacancies.
Revenues might come in higher than we estimated.
Maybe staff found new ways to save money after the budget was approved
And sometimes projects take longer to finish so we don’t spend all the money in one fiscal year.
We are still forecasting that the money we need to maintain services at their current levels is going to be more than what we project to bring in. The exact timing of when that gap first shows up depends on the assumptions we put into the model and other factors, but there is no doubt it’s coming.
If you’d like to learn more, we have a news release online that explains things further. I will continue to keep you up to date as we approach the start of the fiscal year 2025 budget preparation.
Protecting our systems from hackers
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so keep an eye out for tips and training IT will be sharing to help keep our data secure.
Cities are attractive targets for cybercriminals, who are getting more and more sophisticated, sending notices about “overdue invoices,” and even pretending to be me.
This video offers some helpful reminders.
Please, be cautious and aware at all times.
Have a great week and please, to eligible employees, don’t wait until the last minute to sign up for those benefits!